Inaugural SKCC-Teschner Grand Prix Criterium Carnival review
St Kilda CC and Albert Park Lake host 300+ riders for the inaugural SKCC-Teschner Grand Prix Criterium Carnival.
Fortune certainly favours the brave, and last Saturday certainly delivered the goods, as the weather and the riders turned it on!
The weather smiled on St Kilda and Albert Park for the inaugural SKCC-Teschner Grand Prix Criterium Carnival, as some 320-odd riders took to the perfect bitumen for one of the most challenging race formats in cycling, the dreaded 'hot dog' course!
Even with an absolutely still morning, the combination of big fields (85 starters in C Grade), two tight corners on each lap, and two long straights, had the effect of stringing out the field in every race and inflicting intense suffering on those unfortunate, or foolish, enough to find themselves anywhere beyond 20th wheel! With every acceleration out of the corner, gaps could be seen as wheels were dropped, desperation gathering as the riders at the rear of the bunch, still braking for the u-turn faced the leaders heading the other way, firing out of the blocks!
As each Grade progressed and the pace and wind picked up, the effect was much more pronounced; of the 70 starters in the A Grade men's field, only 14 were left in the final lead bunch, with the remaining few riders either finishing well down, or being pulled from the course by the Commissaires. One certain "Hollywood" was heard to exclaim that it was "about bloody time", as the officials instructed their bunch to pull off the course in the final few laps!
Alexander Smyth (Carnegie) took the win in the men's A Grade race from Daniel Braunsteins (Hawthorn) and Kane Walker (Carnegie), with SKCC's own Rico Rogers coming across the line in fourth. It was also great to see SKCC and O2 rider, Dan Moore, in this lead group!
The Women's A Grade race also saw damage done to the back markers, but with a much smaller field and lower speeds, this was restricted to a few riders, and the bunch stayed mostly together for the majority of the race. An early break attempt by Jenny MacPherson was brought back in, and it was in the last three laps, that we saw SKCC's Jo Hogan, now wearing her VIS colours, launch a successful attack. Jo showed her strength and class as she held off a hard chasing Belinda Goss to take a well deserved clear win, with Jenny MacPherson taking third. The SKCC team acquitted itself very well, with an 8th and 10th place in a tough race! Read Melina Bernecker's report from the A Grade women's field on the SKCC website.
Thanks to Rob Moore and the SKCC Committee who brought this wonderful event together, thanks to Adrian and the wonderful VW kombi Wanda, Michael from Soul Kitchen for the coffees and food on the day, all the bike shops who turned up with their tents and support for their riders, and to Matt Keenan for calling our race on the mike and lending the event that special air, just like at a Tour!
Thank you to all the riders and spectators for your support of this event, which we would dearly love to run again next year!
And finally a big thank you to our sponsor Teschner Technologies without whose support wecould not have run the race. Also, thanks to Parks Victoria who co-sponsored the event, with reduced fees, and lastly, our friends at the UCI Road World Championships for providing a winner jersey for each grade. See you next year!!